PHOENIX – Timberwolves starting point guard Ricky Rubio went back to work trying to find himself again Friday.
A gifted passer and playmaker who has struggled with his shot often in a six-year NBA career, he said after Wednesday’s loss at New Orleans that he didn’t know the guy who, among other things, had gone 2-for-20 from the field in his previous four games and didn’t score a point in a 21-point loss to the Pelicans.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said before Friday’s game vs. the Suns that he’s not worried.
“He has been around,” Thibodeau said. “The thing I like about Ricky is the guy has been a pro for a long time and he has played internationally, he has played in the Olympics, he has played for different coaches. He’s a good pro, and he’ll get through this.
“I think being mentally tough when you’re going through adversity is probably the most important thing in life. That’s what I expect from him.”
Rubio looked more like his old self Friday with four steals in the first half and five in the game, and he went 4-for-7 shooting. scoring 11 points.
Once the NBA’s three-point percentage leader not that long ago, Wolves young star Andrew Wiggins entered Friday shooting 18.8 percent (9-for-48) and averaging 11.3 points in his three previous games after he shot 50.7 percent and averaged 33 points the six games before that.
As they always do, Wiggins and Thibodeau analyzed Wiggins’ 2-for-19 game Wednesday at New Orleans.
“When I looked at all of it, there were three shots that were tough shots,” Thibodeau said. “The rest of them were great shots. He got to great spots, and they were in-and-out, wide-open, spot-up threes. I have no problem with the shots he took. He shot them well with good balance, good follow-through.”
Wiggins went 7-for-18 Friday for 25 points. He made one of three three-pointers.
K-Mart is closed
Former Wolves guard Kevin Martin announced his retirement by placing an ad in his hometown Zanesville, Ohio, newspaper on Thanksgiving Day.
“There’s not a more perfect day for me to express those feelings,” he wrote in a long missive when he thanked many for a long NBA career.
The Wolves signed him as a free agent in July 2013, and he reached a buyout with the team last winter on what would have been the final year of his contract this season. The deal allowed him to sign with San Antonio for the playoffs.
• Even the Suns’ crowd aahed when Wolves guard and two-time All Star slam-dunk winner Zach LaVine posterized Phoenix big man Alex Len with a soaring in-your-face dunk midway through the first quarter.
• Thibodeau’s year away from basketball a season ago allowed him to do things he never gets to do, like have holidays with his extended family. Asked Friday if he missed not having Thanksgiving dinner with the relatives on Thursday, he said, “Yeah, it’s the way it is.”
• Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns intended to have Thanksgiving dinner with former Kentucky teammate Devin Booker but had to cancel because the Wolves had a team dinner instead. “He’s like my brother,” Towns said. “We talk almost every day.”
• Thanksgiving is a concept foreign to Wolves big man Gorgui Dieng, who celebrated in his own way Thursday. “I had a steak,” he said.